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When Teena Marie passed away right after Christmas, I promised myself that I would use the platform that I have to help educate my younger friends about the people who helped pave the way for the artists that are currently in the forefront.

I’m a firm believer that we should be give honor where honor is due, while people still have the wherewithal to appreciate it. I figured we’d start off easy. Today our living legend is one of the most sampled artists of all time. He’s slightly enigmatic, and at one point in his career wanted only to be referred to as a symbol. He’s currently doing select shows at major venues around the country. His name, is Prince. Here’s a little background info:

Prince Rogers Nelson (born June 7, 1958), better known as simplyPrince, is a singer, songwriter, musician, and actor. He has been known under the unpronounceable symbol , which he used between 1993 and 2000. During that period he was frequently referred to in the media as “The Artist Formerly Known as Prince“, often abbreviated to “TAFKAP“, or simply “The Artist“.

According to Robert Larsen in his book, History of Rock and Roll, Prince is “one of the most talented and commercially successful pop musicians of the last 20 years”, producing ten platinum albums and thirty Top 40 singles during his career. Prince founded his own recording studio and label, writing, self-producing and playing most, or all, of the instruments on his recordings. In addition, Prince has been a “talent promoter” for the careers of Sheila E.,Carmen ElectraThe Time and Vanity 6, and has written songs for these artists and others (including Chaka KhanThe Bangles, and Sinéad O’Connor).

Prince also has several hundred unreleased songs in his “vault”. He has won seven Grammy Awards, a Golden Globe, and an Academy Award. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004, the first year he was eligible.

In that same year Rolling Stone ranked Prince #28 on its list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.

Pretty amazing, right? Prince’s film adaptation of his life “Purple Rain”  spawned this hit record:

Remind you of anything? Hmmm how about this:

Prince has inspired many artists, including but not limited to Beyonce, Alicia Keys, The-Dream, and countless others.

I gave you a head start… now go ahead and do a little research yourself. If you need a place to start, Entertainment Weekly compiled a list of Prince’s 10 best songs…which you can see HERE. What’s your favorite Prince track? Mine is “Kiss”… share with me in the comment section…!